Marianne Cosplay – The winged journey begins
Marianne was my first official cosplay and started off a trend in my projects: wings. I was attending University to study Ornithology through my Zoology degree at the time my cosplay journey began, and my love for birds translated into my projects. Although my first cosplay wings might not have been those of a bird they were still heavily inspired by them.
Let me introduce you to the character this cosplay is based on: Marianne the warrior princess from the movie Strange Magic. After suffering a broken heart when her fiancé cheats on her right before their wedding Marianne swears never to fall in love again and replaces all her dresses and flower crowns with tunics and a sword. Her attitude of not letting anyone get her down combined with her beautiful wings instantly drew my attention and made her my first cosplay project.
I created her between July 2015 and June 2016 for my first ever convention: Wellington Armageddon Expo 2016. Nothing was ever quite the same after having been introduced to the magic of cosplaying and the excitement of conventions, inspiring many more cosplays to come.
Although great fun this was definitely not an easy build, especially as my first project! The wings were the biggest challenge since although there were plenty of tutorials around for how to make swords and outfits, ones for moving butterfly wings (since I’d decided to take it even further and make them move) were very lacking. I definitely learned a lot from this build and would now love to share a bit of the building process with you guys. =)
The wings themselves are made from kite material: light, strong, easy to cut, but a pain to work with since it is extremely smooth and slides all over the place when trying to sew it. After drawing out the wings full sized it was relatively easy to cut out the individual colours with a soldering iron (adding a seam line where pieces would join), and before sewing I had to tape them in place prevent the pieces from sliding around. The wings are supported by kite spars that are inserted into a sleeve of thicker kite material sewn on the top of the wings.
The motor was another massive challenge since I had no idea how I could achieve the motion I wanted. Surprisingly the answer to this issue came from an unlikely source: a car with windscreen wipers that made the motion I needed. One trip to a car yard later and I had what I needed. One part of the cosplay I’m not happy about though is the casing it sits in. The cosplay looks great from up front but seeing a big black box on the back wasn’t ideal (and it wasn’t exceptionally comfortable either). This was definitely a point I knew I’d want to improve on for future projects.
The sword was made from an MDF and plywood base made by one of my brothers as a birthday gift. Some sanding later I painted on details with puffy paint, primed, painted, and added leather straps to the handle. I’ve learned basic woodworking since so that I can make my own bases for future props. =)
The leggings are a slightly purplish black pantyhose on which I painted the decorative designs with gold fabric paint. I had to do this while wearing them to ensure the design was neat when I put them on (they warp completely when I take them off but go back to normal when wearing them since they were painted and dried in that position).
The dress is made with a base fabric that was a light pinky colour, I made it darker with dye, and then marbled/mottled it by dabbing on some more concentrated dye. I tried to leave the outer edges clear for the green pieces to finish off the slightly ‘leafy’ appearance of the outfit. The collar is made from brown and green fabric, with the ‘leaves’ at the top being held upright by diluted PVA glue.
The boots are a light brown set of boots that I darkened with shoe polish and added on some leather stripes with glue, and also sewing the edges for extra strength. The ‘leaves’ on top are craft foam that I painted purple and added on some extra detailing with some darker purple and brown.
The bracer is made from craft foam that I painted green with some darker green highlights. This stuff is great for heat shaping as well which is how I got the little curled area on the ends of the bracer ‘leaves’.
Thanks so much for checking out my post and seeing the cosplay that began it all! The trend of wings won’t be coming to an end anytime soon and I look forward to sharing my other winged projects with you guys. =D